MI House Democrats introduce legislation to allow ranked-choice voting

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan State Representatives Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit, and Regina Weiss, D-Oak Park, introduced a new package of bills that aim to allow ranked-choice voting in Michigan municipal elections.

“Ranked-choice voting is a common-sense reform that can transform our local politics for the better,” Aiyash said in a press release. “This legislation provides voters with an option to move toward a system that incentivizes a wider pool of candidates to run for office and gives voters a stronger voice in electing their local leaders.” 

Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank their candidates, rather than vote for a single individual.

According to House Democrats, if one candidate does not win more than 50% of the votes during the first vote tally, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated.

The vote would then be recounted and all of the votes for the eliminated candidate would be reallocated to candidates based on the voter’s second-ranked preference. This process is repeated until one candidate achieves a majority of the votes.    

“Choice is important and needed for our democracy to be truly representative, but our current electoral system doesn’t give voters that option,” Weiss said in the release. “This legislative package ensures everyone has a voice in the election process and that elections are won by the candidates who are inclusive and have the broadest support in their community, creating a stronger, more just democracy.”

Over 20 states have ranked-choice voting in elections and multiple cities nationwide implemented ranked-choice voting during local 2021 elections including Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, New York City, and Sante Fe NM.

“Residents from across Michigan have made their thoughts on ranked-choice voting known, and I’m sure more and more places will begin doing the same,” Thanedar said. “Why should we stand in the way of what Michiganders want? It’s time to embrace and empower the voters by allowing ranked-choice voting in our state.”

The legislative package includes:

  • House Bill 5646 to amend the Home Rule City Act to allow cities to authorize the use of ranked-choice voting for local elections.
  • House Bill 5644 to amend the Michigan Election Law by outlining the rules for how a ranked-choice election is conducted. 
  • House Bill 5645 to amend the Michigan Election Law to establish the procedures that local clerks must follow when implementing a ranked-choice election.

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